So a group of former Special Forces guys is complaining that national-security leaks from the Obama Administration are harming national security. Some of the recent leaks – about the Stuxnet computer virus aimed at the heart of Iran’s nuclear program, for example – have seemed brazen to Battleland.
But it seems a tad incongruous for the group to complain about a President who has embraced their way of war-fighting and zealously prosecuted leakers.
This is all part of the democratization of the media, wrought by the Internet. The 22-minute video never could have been created – never mind seen by nearly 1 million viewers this week – without it. Of course, the group behind the video, the Special Operations OPSEC Education Fund, gets far greater exposure when cable TV networks – and places like Battleland – report on its claims.
Their mission statement says it’s time to “STOP the politicians, President Obama and others, from politically capitalizing on US national security operations and secrets!”
Of course, one of those speaking out has been Admiral Bill McRaven, a former SEAL who now commands the U.S. Special Forces Command. Earlier this year, retired Army lieutenant general James Vaught took McRaven to task for the attention that his SEALs and other special-ops units were getting:
Since the time when your wonderful team went and drug bin Laden out and got rid of him, and more recently when you went down and rescued the group in Somalia, or wherever the hell they were, they’ve been splashing all of this all over the media. I flat don’t understand that.
Now back when my special operators extracted Saddam [Hussein] from the hole, we didn’t say one damn word about it. We turned him over to the local commander and told him to claim that his forces drug him out of the hole, and he did so. And we just faded away and kept our mouth shut.
Now I’m going to tell you, one of these days, if you keep publishing how you do this, the other guy’s going to be there ready for you, and you’re going to fly in and he’s going to shoot down every damn helicopter and kill every one of your SEALs. Now, watch it happen. Mark my words. Get the hell out of the media.
He may have a point. But the bottom line is clear: it’s better to have political opponents complaining about your boasting over a successful mission to take out Osama bin Laden, then to have them decrying that he remains on the loose 11 years after 9/11.